FATA’s merger and new promises

Written by The Frontier Post

The Senate Standing Committee on States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON) has constituted a sub-committee to investigate the matters regarding funds released and utilized under Accelerated Implementation Programme (AIP) and Annual Development Programme (ADP) for merged Districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. According to reports, the Senate Standing committee held a meeting on Tuesday at Parliament Lodges under the chairmanship of Senator Hilal-ur-Rehman. The proposed subcommittee is composed of two members and headed by Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi.

The authorities briefed the committee about the details of allocation of 3 % of the divisible pool from National Finance Commission (NFC) to finance the special development of merged areas. The committee was briefed that the funds have been utilized for the rehabilitation of Temporarily Displaced Persons (TDPs), payment of compensation of damages and losses of public property, business, and district wise details of pending cases of compensation. Apparently, funds have been utilized for the compensation of public losses that occurred during the military operations against the terrorist outfits in the area. According to reports, the committee also discussed the administrative and development issues relating to the merger of Ex. FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In fact, FATA’s merger was the decades old desire of the underprivileged people of the area, who were deprived of their basic rights due to enforcement of Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) since the beginning of the British rule in the area. The need for the FATA merger was severely realized by the public and the government of Pakistan when terrorist organizations established their stronghold in the area after the US invasion of Afghanistan. The adoption of the historic 25th constitutional amendment by the parliament paved the path for the merger of FATA into the mainland of the country during May 2018. A five-year time was suggested by the FATA reforms committee for implementation of political, social, administrative and development measures in the area.

There were numerous issues related to the merger of FATA, because previously the area was governed by the Political agents at agency level (current district) and no such local administration existed there. The law and order were being maintained through ill-trained and poorly organized Levis and Khasadar Forces over the last seven decades. There was hardly any health care, social services, and higher education facilities, while absence of local courts and a regular criminal law turned the region into lawless territory. Hopefully, the lawmakers and government institutions that work for the people of the merged districts would bring transparency in their work and efforts, not just lip service.

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The Frontier Post

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